England Under-21 manager Gareth Southgate has told BT Sport that Jesse Lingard may not have had the chances in the Manchester United first team he could have because physically he is a late developer.
The 22-year-old, who came off the bench for the England Under-21s to net the winner against Sweden on Sunday, has just one Premier League appearance to his name, which came against Swansea City on the opening day of last season.
Lingard has since been on-loan to Derby County, after recovering from an injury sustained in the game against Swansea, but he struggled to establish himself in the Rams starting XI.
On his progress and impact against Sweden, Southgate was full of praise for the youngster and hinted that he may finally become the player he once threatened to be.
‘’He’s an intelligent footballer,’’ remarked Southgate on BT Sport when asked about Lingard. ‘’He’s got very clean feet, sharp coming in from the lane, good movement.
"He’s more the kind of wide player who’s going to play and follow, but he’s got a goal in him because he’s a calm finisher.
‘’He’s been a player at United since very young, physically a late developer and they’ve had to wait for him.’’
Can Lingard be a regular for United next season?
Southgate commented that Lingard has been impeded in his progress due to his physical development, but indicated that may no longer be the case.
The fleet-footed winger is an exciting prospect for United and manager Louis van Gaal looks to be a big fan, after giving him a new contract, as reported by Manutd.com, and handing him his Premier League debut on his first game in charge.
Nevertheless, with Andreas Pereira and Adnan Januzaj competing with him, the chances of Lingard becoming outright first choice at Old Trafford next season looks slim.
According to The Chronicle, Lingard is wanted by former Rams manager Steve McClaren at Newcastle United.
The move could work out in the best interests of the England under-21 midfielder as it’s time he proved his Premier League qualities on a regular basis.